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Sunderland Council proposes SUSPENDING taxi drivers for a year if caught using hand-held device

Sunderland City Council (SCC) are set to carry out a public consultation to revamp its taxi and private hire licensing policies which could see cabbies SUSPENDED for up to a year or licences REVOKED if caught using a hand-held mobile device.

The proposals put forward are based on guidance from the Department for Transport’s (DfT) Statutory Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Standards. SCC will consider matters raised through consultation with drivers and companies in Sunderland.

According to proposals published depending upon the circumstances of the case, an existing licensed driver whose DVLA Driving Licence is endorsed with penalty points in respect of using a held‐hand mobile phone, or a hand‐held device whilst driving, but no disqualification from driving, SHOULD have their licence suspended for a maximum of one year or revoked.

Other proposed changes to policies that would affect 1,018 licensed drivers in the area includes:

  • A code of conduct for drivers including a dress code

  • Introduction of a Driver Improvement Programme for existing licensed drivers

  • A change in the medical requirements for drivers and the adoption of the DVLA

  • Group 2 Medical Standard

  • Changes to current arrangements for vehicle age limits and emissions standards

  • A new requirement for private hire operators to assess the suitability of their booking and dispatch staff

  • A change to the existing policy on vehicle window tints.

Councillor Jill Fletcher, Chair of the council's Licensing and Regulatory Committee, said: "It's residents and the general public that use the city's taxis and private hire vehicles. As a listening council, we take on board and consider the views of residents in our decision-making. "We are proposing changes to the way private hire vehicles and taxis are licensed and operated within the city. We will do this by looking to introduce what will be known as the Statement of Private Hire and Hackney Carriage Licensing Policy. "This will set out in one place information about the licensing and regulation of private hire vehicles and taxis. "The primary objective is to ensure the safety and welfare of the public (with particular regard to children and vulnerable adults), environmental sustainability, and to ensure an efficient private hire and taxi service operates within the city. "We'd be very interested to hear your views on what you feel about the trade in Sunderland as we draw up and draft these new regulations."


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